Wythenshawe residents are set to transform an area of overgrown land – currently a magnet for fly tippers – into a green-fingered venture to provide home-grown produce.
The land, which is just behind the McDonald’s restaurant on Altrincham Road, Baguley will be turned into a temporary community growing area for two years.
Funded by Manchester City Council, the European Union, Red Rose Forest and Groundwork, residents have secured enough cash to buy the plants and containers as well as the tools needed to clear the area, which is the size of a bowling green.
Wythenshawe councillor, and city council deputy leader, Sue Murphy, said: “This project is a winner from start to finish. Not only does it reduce anti-social behaviour, but it will provide a well-managed site where residents and their children will join forces to grow all types of fruit and vegetables. ”
The scheme is part of a pilot project which will be extended to other parts of the city. It aims to find a process where under-used sites, owned by the council, can be given a community purpose for a specified length of time. All the plants grown on these sites will be in containers so that if the land is eventually developed, they can be moved to a different location.
Pete Stringer, Special Projects Manager at Red Rose Forest, said: “Increasingly more and more residents want to grow their own fruit and vegetables, but don’t have the space or skills to do this. This project will provide communities with a secure growing area and the opportunity to learn how to grow their own food, which will not only save them money but will encourage healthier lifestyles through diet and physical activity.”
The McDonald’s restaurant will also be playing a key role in the venture. As well as allowing their land to be used, they will provide water to site and act as the keyholders.
McDonald’s franchisee Jackie Anderson, said: “I wanted to be part of a venture that brought the whole community together. I signed a twenty-year lease for this land in 2005 and I don’t want to be regarded as just a business – I’d like to give something back too.